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4 Email Marketing Metrics to Track Your ROI

Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin

Are you getting the proper return on your investment in email marketing?

There are few things as necessary as your email marketing campaign. The success of your newsletter and other email-based promotional material can have a significant impact on the financial status and health of your company.

If you need to know what kind of impact your email marketing campaign has on your brand, consider the following stats from a case study by Delivra:

  • Email subscribers are three times as likely to share your content as those who discover your content on social media.

  • Automation in the email marketing field is causing a drastic increase in open rates. They report a 70.5% increase in open rates with automated emails.

  • A whopping 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content in their email inbox.

Now that we know why email marketing is important, it's time to figure out which ROI (return on investment) metrics you need to track to make the most of your lead list.

Editor's note: Looking for email marketing software for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.


1. Check your open rate.

Your open rate is one of the best ways to tell whether or not your marketing plan is working and resonating with customers. Figuring out your open rate and tracking it may seem like a pain, but it's the best way to see if you're reaching customers and whether they are interested in what you're offering.

To check your open rate, figure out not how many emails you sent out, but how many stick. In other words, don't include emails that get kicked back to you because the account is closed or perhaps never existed.

Once you figure out how many emails went through, look at how many people opened the delivered emails. Just divide the number of people who opened the emails against the total number of emails sent and you'll have your open rate. For example, if you sent out 1,000 (assuming none were kicked back) and 200 people opened your email, divide 200 by 1,000, and you have your open rate. [Interested in email marketing software for your business? Check out the reviews and best picks on]

A Constant Contact study shows that the average open rate for emails across all industries is 15.75%, with most of the email opens occurring on desktops.

2. Monitor your click rate.

Your click rate goes hand in hand with your open rate. After your customer opens your email, the goal is for them to follow through and land on your website. Those who follow through make up your click rate.

Though the average open rate is nearly 16%, the average click rate is much smaller. The average email click rate is 7.77%. Because the gap is so wide between those who click through and the number of actual emails sent, it's vital that you track your email marketing ROI.

You can do this by looking at the number of people clicking through and buying a product versus the amount the company is spending on email marketing. In the case of almost all experienced marketers, an email marketing plan results in a positive ROI.

3. Pay attention to unsubscribers.

No one has the perfect business model that retains every single customer who comes through. Unsubscribing happens, there's no doubt about it. You have to watch your unsubscribe rate and look for trends perhaps relating to new content you've published.

The average unsubscribe rate is tiny – 0.23 of 1%, to be exact. That number allows for some wiggle room, depending on your specific industry.

But if you start to notice trends such as an increasing unsubscribe rate, above-average unsubscribe numbers or fluctuations of unsubscriptions when you publish specific content, it's time to take notice. You can crush your ROI by way of having large flocks of your customer base leaving.

It may take some time to sift through the data and figure out what is causing the variance, but once you resolve the issue, you'll be glad you did.

Bounce rate

Take a look at how bounce rates impact the success of your email marketing plan. In most cases, including when using Google Analytics, there are two types of bounce rates – hard and soft bounces.

A hard bounce is an email that was kicked back to the business owner. The main reason this happens is that the email account is no longer active or never existed.

On the other hand, a soft bounce is an email that is kicked back, but only temporarily. The most common reason for this is that the email account isn't accepting new emails right now or the inbox is otherwise full.

The average rate for a soft bounce is around 0.6 of 1%, while hard bounces occur approximately 0.39% of the time. Much like with the unsubscribe rate, it's OK to have a slight variance plus or minus the average. However, if you notice that you're regularly getting tons of kickbacks, this can be bad for your ROI.

You can minimize the number of people who bounce from your website – improving the odds that they will stick around and sign up with a valid email address – with retargeting pixels. You may know retargeting pixels as cookies. There's serious evidence that retargeting customers who bounce can improve your ROI. For example, IncStores saw an increase of 750 subscribers per week with an overall increase of 300% with the help of retargeting pixels.

Check your bounce rates often to see how you can improve. Adding a two-step verification when signing up for your newsletter can usually resolve this problem. The recipient needs to confirm that their email address is correct and functioning.

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Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin Member
I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.